I have visited many Ontario conservation areas in the past few months. Not being able to travel, I took the opportunity to explore Eastern Ontario in depth, including visiting all of these protected areas. So it seemed appropriate to visit one more before the end of the year, so I headed for the Lyn Valley Conservation Area near Brockville.
The weather forecast called for a sunny day, but it ended up being a bit foggy and dreary when we arrived at the conservation area. So the forest looked a bit gloomy and all the rain over the past few days had made the trail a bit muddy and slippery. Not the ideal conditions for a hike …
Lyn Valley Conservation Area is the smallest of all those managed by the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) and is also one of the busiest. That seemed a little hard to believe as we were completely alone on the trail that day, but I imagine the conservation area must be a little prettier and more enjoyable in the summer.
The place, however, remains impressive. The conservation area is actually located on the site of a former gravel pit. Starting in the 1880s, the site provided sand and gravel for major infrastructure work in the area: the railroad between Brockville and Westport, Highway 2 along the St. Lawrence River and then Highway 401 in 60s.
In 1973, the CRCA purchased the site of the old quarry for a symbolic sum of $ 1 in an attempt to restore the site and make it accessible to the local population.
Lyn Valley Conservation Area has a short one-kilometre trail as well as a beach overlooking a spring-fed small lake, which is apparently a great swimming spot in summer.
The beach is closed for the season, of course, and the one-kilometre hike was done quickly and under gloomy skies, but I’m still proud to say that I’ve now visited 35 conservation areas in Eastern Ontario. What a great way to discover lesser-known places in my province!
For another hiking option in the region, the CRCA also manages the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area, another conservation area located just outside Brockville.